This field was originally called Pershing Field. It was built just before the start of World War II. The depression was still a factor but Hastings civic leaders saw the future and it resulted in the decision to go ahead and build a stadium. It was dedicated on October 7th 1941, just two months to the day befoe the attack on Pearl Harbor. The field was renamed after Donald Duncan shortly after his death in 1948. It is located on the corner of Elm and South Street. It is a large park and the distance to the outfield fence is a pitcher's dream.
Duncan field was the home of the Hastings Giants in the class "D" Nebraska State League from 1956 through 1959. They were a farm team of the New York/San Francisco Giants. The league was owned by Major League Baseball and players in the league were basically rookies. Attendance was over 28 thousand in 1956 but dropped to just over 10,000 in the last year of the league in 1959.
In 1959 Hastings was host to the American Legion National Championship. Over 23,000 fans attended the event held in early September 1959. Thomas A. Edison Post 187 from Detroit Michigan lost their first game but won the double elimination tournament. Other teams in the finals were from Hampton Virginia, West Hartford Conn. and Phoenix Arizona. Fred Bowen Jr., a short stop on the first place team from Detroit was named the player of the year.
The success of the 1959 American Legion World Series led to Hastings hosting the tournament in 1960 also. New Orleans Louisiana Post 125 was the winner of the series. The young men from Jesuit High in New Orleans were coached by Kevin Trowes and featured Rusty Staub, Pat Screen and Dick Roniger. They defeated Billing Montana in the finals.
In 1961, Hastings hosted the American Legion Series for the third straight year. A team from Phoenix Arizona won the championship with Cincinnati Ohio post 554 coming in second. The streak of tournaments ended at three as Bismark North Dakota was selected to host the 1962 series.
Hastings was selected to host the American Legion World Series in 1969. Portland Oregan post 105 won the tournament with Towson Maryland as the runner up.
If you want to know more about the fields in Nebraska that have hosted the American Legion National Championship click here.
The field is surrounded by a brick wall. Down the lines there is an interior chain link fence before the brick wall.
Field dimensions are:
370 ft. left
367 ft. right
405 ft. power alleys
408 ft. center
For many baseball aficionados, Duncan Field is one of the best fields in the state. It is mentioned along with Merchants Park in Schuyler and Sam Crawford Field in Wahoo when the topic of best baseball experience comes up.
The field is the current home for American Legion and Hastings College games.
Hastings was also a part of the NSL during the 1922-1924 iteration of the league. During that time the team played in "Westside Park". This is probably what is now called Prospect Park. It is also called Chautauqua park. It is just west of the main business district.
I am not sure where the Hastings team park was during the 1910-1915 iteration of the NSL. The Hastings team was not able to play in town on Sunday. They built a grand stand in Blue Hill, where the local officials were not as inclined to enforce the laws against baseball on Sunday and the team played their Sunday games in Blue Hill.
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